Estate Planning Fees – Plans with a Trust

Estate Planning Fees – Plans With a Revocable Living Trust

The estate planning fees for these two scenarios use a revocable living trust as the clients’ post-death distribution document and assume the clients will be serving as their own trustees.

Both scenarios assume the client’s total assets are considerably less than the current federal estate tax exemption of $5,450,000. Therefore, all of the documents are prepared without regard to avoiding or minimizing federal estate taxes. If the clients’ combined assets exceeded this amount, the fees would be increased commensurately to take into account the ramifications and complexities of the federal estate and gift tax laws.

FIRST SCENARIO: This scenario involves a married couple. It is the first marriage for both of them, and they have children and possibly grandchildren. They agree that all of their assets are equally owned by them regardless of when and how the assets were acquired.

SECOND SCENARIO: This scenario also involves a married couple. Both of them have been married before and both of them have children from their prior marriages. They may also have grandchildren. They agree that the assets acquired by them during their marriage are equally owned by them. However, they want the assets owned by either of them prior to their marriage (or assets inherited by either of them during their marriage) to be maintained as their separate property.

In both scenarios the couples want to provide for the survivor’s lifetime support following the first of their deaths. However, in the Second Scenario they also want to make certain that following the survivor’s death the assets of the first decedent will be distributed to his or her children. Common to both scenarios are: (1) the desire to avoid unnecessary probates to distribute their assets following their deaths, and (2) the desire to avoid a very public and expensive court-supervised guardianship or conservatorship if their health fails prior to their deaths. They may also have life insurance policies and retirement accounts that require the beneficiaries to be updated to avoid an unnecessary probate or taxation of the proceeds.

Primary Beneficiaries: Each other – for life
Secondary Beneficiaries: Children / Grandchildren / Family Members / Charities
Assets: Arizona residence / motor vehicles / bank accounts / IRAs / brokerage accounts / life insurance policies

Estate Planning Services:

  1. Initial multiple-hour conference with clients to determine appropriate estate plan
  2. Advising clients regarding beneficiary designations for bank accounts, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance policies
  3. All additional conferences needed to advise clients on their estate planning options
  4. Preparation of Property Agreement to establish ownership of assets between clients
  5. Preparation of Revocable Living Trust with Pour-Over Wills
  6. Preparation of Certification of Trust to insure proper registration of trust assets
  7. Preparation of Deeds to transfer individually-owned real estate to trust
  8. Preparation of financial Powers of Attorney
  9. Preparation of Living Wills and Health Care Powers of Attorney
  10. Preparation of Registration Agreements to file copies of clients’ health care documents with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office for 24/7 accessibility
  11. Preparation of beneficiary designation forms for retirement accounts and life insurance policies.
  12. Supervision of signing of estate plan documents by clients
  13. Letter to clients regarding proper registration of trust assets and income tax reporting
  14. Letter to clients explaining and summarizing estate plan
  15. Preparation of Estate Plan Notebook with tabbed indices for clients’ estate plan documents
  16. No-charge telephone consultations to answer client questions concerning estate plan matters following completion of estate plan.

Typical Planning Fees and Costs:
Attorney fees for married clients with all co-owned assets: $2,500
– $3,000
Attorney fees for married clients with separately-owned and co-owned assets: $3,000 – $4,000
Recording fees for deeds to transfer real estate  to trust: $15 to $25 (per deed)